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Lifelong Learning Review in Contemporary Japan

Xuan Zhao

Zhejiang Shuren University, China




In the era of the Meiji Restoration, social education for adults in Japan has taken shape to make up for the lack of school education. After World War II, social education in Japan focused on compensation education and vocational training for young and adult women. With the promulgation of the Basic Education Law and the Social Education Law, "social education as the legal right of Japanese" was clarified. Governments were encouraged to develop and operate public social education facilities. From the late 1940s to the mid-1980s, "social education" included adult education activities in addition to primary and secondary schools and higher education institutions. Since the 1960s, UNESCO's propaganda activities have promoted the idea of "lifelong education" in Japan, and the official acknowledged that domestic demand for lifelong education had become more apparent. In 1971, the Central Education Committee issued a report recommending that " from the perspective of lifelong education, comprehensive adjustments of the entire education system are required." In 1981, the Central Education Commission of Japan submitted a lifelong education report to MEXT, which emphasized the necessity and importance of "lifelong education" and marked the beginning of the transition to lifelong education in Japan. Since the mid-1980s, "lifelong learning" has become the most common term in Japan for adult education activities. In the 21st century, with the support of local and national governments, people can freely choose formal, informal, or non-informal learning opportunities at any time, and relevant institutions would offer appropriate certificates.


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